NATICK, Mass. --
On May 1, Sgt. 1st Class George R. Garcia and Sgt. 1st Class Mario
Miramontez from the 25th Infantry Division visited the
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) as part of a multi-state
visit to various Research, Development and Engineering Centers (RDECs)
to share their first-hand combat experiences with equipment and to
see what improvements are being made or can be made to assist the
Warfighter in the field.
“I’m not a
scientist or developer,” Garcia said, “just a Soldier with a whole
lot of common sense. I might see an item that I’m not going to use
unless I’m able to modify it for my purpose.”
He continued on
to say one of the ideas behind this visit is to get with the design
people to have modifications done at the research and development
level, rather than have to deal with problems after an item gets to
that they recently spoke at a meeting with about 300 scientists and
developers of equipment in attendance. “It gave us a chance to bring
forth some issues that the developers don’t hear about or know
about,” Garcia said.
Garcia has been
deployed six times and Miramontez had been deployed three. “We have
seen it all,” they said. Garcia mentioned that an item, such as a
stealth shelter, which was good for Afghanistan, was not useful in
Iraq. In Iraq, we are using existing buildings, he said, but having
that shelter was an advantage in Afghanistan.
challenges were also presented.
The number one
issue that keeps coming up is body armor, they said. The size, the
weight, even how you add the pouches keeps presenting problems. Body
armor that is smaller, lighter and not as bulky is the top request
from Soldiers. “I’ve heard about the new chassis system (from the
Future Force Warrior program) and think it’s a great idea,” Garcia
mentioned as another problem. For some items you need two AA
batteries. But you’re not only going to bring two, you’re going to
bring at least four. And some items take different types of
batteries. Now we’re ending up bringing an entire cache of
batteries, they said.
Miramontez got to discuss these topics and others in more detail
with subject matter experts when they toured various labs around the
SSC. Other subjects discussed included the Army Combat Uniform, eye
protection, such as Soldier Integrated Tactical Eyewear, Soldier
cognition, footwear, load carriage, DoD combat feeding, Joint
Precision Airdrop System and U.S. Army Research Institute of
Environmental Medicine programs.
Garcia and Miramontez mentioned included having a standardized
breaching kit, which would include tools such as those fire
departments have, a standardized first aid kit, and personal radios.
“I’m a gear guy,”
Garcia said. “I’ve seen stuff that comes out of Natick that is
awesome. But it might need modifications, something very simple.
It’s better if that is done here.”
This visit to SSC
is part of a U.S. Pacific Command/U.S. Army Research, Development
and Engineering Command initiative to provide RDEC scientists and
engineers with the opportunity to hear firsthand the successes and
problems experienced by Soldiers with products that are developed
and fielded on their behalf.